Two Gutsy Teens Confront Their Congressman About Health Care

Photo: AP Photo/Mel Evans.
After House Republicans couldn't garner enough votes to pass their healthcare bill in March, Rep. Tom MacArthur proposed an amendment that effectively helped the law pass a House vote May 4. Wednesday night, two teens confronted MacArthur at a lengthy town hall with his New Jersey constituents, and things got heated.
First, Joseph Zetkulic, a high school senior, asked his congressman point-blank: "How did it pass your conscience to allow rape to become a pre-existing condition? Is rape considered a pre-existing condition under your amendment, yes or no?" According to ThinkProgress, Rep. MacArthur wouldn't answer the question and called worries about what the proposed law considers a preexisting condition "hysteria."
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The congressman couldn't escape the questions though, as another local teen, Daisy Confoy, later said: "I’d like to go back to a question that my friend Joey asked you, which you neglected to answer. Is rape considered a preexisting condition under your amendment?"
Confoy went back and forth with MacArthur for a while, trying to get a real answer out of him. “Yes or no? Yes, or no? One word, please,” she demanded.
"My peers and I plan to continue getting involved. You will answer to us. You are our representative," she told the congressman, followed by cheers from the crowd.
MacArthur never fully answered the question, eventually saying he wouldn't "reduce" rape to being called a preexisting condition. But, he wouldn't speak to the fact that the GOP healthcare bill would allow certain states to charge people with preexisting conditions higher insurance premiums, and sexual assault and domestic violence could be included on the list of qualifying conditions.
The MacArthur-Meadows amendment altered the initial healthcare proposal that would have allowed all states to charge more for preexisting conditions to only allow states with federal waivers to do so. But, that still means some Americans could be charged more for insurance because they were assaulted.
The two teens didn't let their congressman off the hook for his role in getting the controversial GOP bill through the House of Representatives. The reform's fate is now in the hands of the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kindly said women could participate in the process.
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